Head Of New York And New Jersey Port Authority Tests Positive For Coronavirus

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The head of the New York and New Jersey Port Authority tested positive for coronavirus, becoming one of the most prominent government officials to contract the disease.

Rick Cotton, who serves as the executive director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, tested positive for COVID-19, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday. Cotton — who not only oversees operations of the region’s airports, bus terminals, bridges and tunnels, but also the response to the virus — is self-quarantining and will continue working from his home.

“He has been at the airports, obviously, when many people were coming back with the virus,” Cuomo, speaking about Cotton, said during a Monday press conference.

The Port Authority is responsible for operating major airports in the New York City region, which includes Kennedy International, La Guardia and Newark Liberty International Airports. As part of his job, Cotton came in contact with numerous travelers. In fact, the governor surmised that even he might have come into contact with him.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media outside the home of rabbi Chaim Rottenbergin Monsey, in New York on December 29, 2019 after a machete attack that took place earlier outside the rabbi’s home during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah in Monsey, New York. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

“I could have been in contact with Rick Cotton,” Cuomo said, according to The New York Times. The governor, however, added that he has not tested positive for the virus. (RELATED: A Coronavirus Vaccine Is In The Works, But How Long Until It Reaches The Public?)

Cuomo issued a state of emergency for New York on Saturday following a rise of cases in the state. Earlier on Monday, the governor said New York has 142 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, with positive cases across several counties. Cuomo also announced that New York will begin creating its own hand sanitizer to ensure the public has enough.

Those number of COVID-19 cases are only anticipated to climb higher, particularly in New York City.

“We could well be at 100 cases or hundreds of cases over the next two or three weeks,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. “Updates may be not as fine-tuned in real time.”

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